You know the scene when a movie reveals the obsessed detective’s yarn wall? He’s put up clippings of all the serial killer’s murders and drawn circles on maps and then poked thumbtacks into the relevant bits and strung yarn between the thumb tacks that connects all the clues. “Whoa, this guy is seriously obsessed,” you’re supposed to think. “He went to all that trouble with that yarn!”
I Trapped the Devil has that scene, but bigger because there are two yarns walls. They’re the angled walls in an attic where you’ll eventually bump your head if you move laterally. It looks pretty cool. But then I Trapped the Devil makes the mistake of being a little too proud of its yarn wall. It flashes close-ups of sections of the wall. And you see it’s got about three times too much yarn to make any sense, and what’s more, the yarn doesn’t seem to connect anywhere. It’s just tacks randomly put in various places with lots of criss-crossing yarn. More an art project than a clue wall.
I Trapped the Devil is one of those movies that blows its wad in the title. Another example of this is The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot. Those aren’t two movies, by the way. That’s one movie, called The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot. You might see that title and wonder what the movie is really about. No need. You know after you’ve read the title. Maybe derivative threadbare scripts like these shouldn’t give so much away in the title. Suffice it to say, I don’t really need to tell you the premise of I Trapped the Devil. In your head, add overwrought sound and a basement and long stretches without dialogue. There you go. You’ve got it. You’ve all but seen I Trapped the Devil.
If you like Nicolas Winding Refn movies, you’ll have a lot in common with the director of I Trapped the Devil. And if you secretly fear being unable to get good reception when you’re watching a TV program about Jocelin Donahue dancing around, this is the horror movie for you. Alternatively, just watch House of the Devil for some quality scenes of Jocelin Donahue dancing around. Enjoy the early Greta Gerwig while you’re at it. And the AJ Bowen. AJ Bowen is in I Trapped the Devil alongside Scott Poythress. The two of them drove the wickedly funny middle segment of The Signal: Not the One with Brenton Thwaites. In I Trapped the Devil, they show a remarkable capacity to tolerate red lighting.
If you want a good indie movie about two people who were once close catching up with each other, and struggling with whether one of them is mentally ill or haunted by Supreme Evil, watch a movie called They Look Like People. And if you want to watch AJ Bowen as part of a lively cast — including Barbara Crampton having a grand ol’ time — check out a movie called Dead Night. In addition to being good, both of those movies know that a title should leave something to the imagination.
I Trapped the Devil